Jarrow singer Abi Garrido is still on cloud nine after her dream of singing on an arena stage came true.
The 18-year-old shared the stage with big stars including Olly Murs and Ben Haenow at Metro Radio Christmas Live this week.
Abi won the chance to sing in front of 10,000 people at the annual event at the Metro Radio Arena, in Newcastle, after coming out on top at competition Big Audition, run by the radio station.
She said: “It was unreal, I still can’t believe it. It was just mad, I didn’t know how to feel when I was stood waiting to go on.
“I was so nervous. People were coming up to me and asking if I was OK but I just couldn’t even speak to them I was that nervous.
“But once I got out there it was amazing. I loved it and I want to do it again every night. It’s a night I’ll never forget.”
Abi, who was named the Gazette’s Young Performer of the Year in 2012, has had a huge year.
She supported legendary singer Billy Ocean at the South Tyneside Summer Festival, singing to 20,000 people in Bents Park, South Shields, performed at Christmas lights switch-on ceremonies across the North East and signed an international management deal.
Last year, she made it to the judges’ houses stage of the X Factor, and after former contest Olly gave her some backstage advice this week, she’s hoping 2016 holds as many opportunities.
She said: “My dressing room was just along the corridor from Olly’s, it was just crazy.
“He was really lovely and he said he was going to watch my set, but I couldn’t actually believe it when I looked over and he was stood at the side of the stage watching me sing.
“He told me I was fantastic and to never give up on my dream. He said that he’d been singing for 10 years before he got onto X Factor and that he’d gone for it a few times and never even made it past the first auditions.
“He was working in a call centre and now he’s headlining arenas.
“It was amazing sharing the stage with all those big names. I just wish I could do it every night.”
It was amazing sharing the stage with all those big names. I just wish I could do it every night.Abi Garrido